Kerry unsure about censure

By Terry Kinney The Associated Press

CINCINNATI – Sen. John Kerry said yesterday that he will need to take a closer look at a proposal that would censure President Bush over the president’s domestic spying program before he decides whether to support it.

“There are a lot of issues right now we need to be focused on,” said Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who lost the race for president in 2004 when Ohio went to Bush.

“We also do need to hold the president accountable. I want to make sure that is the best way to do it before I make that final judgment,” Kerry said.

Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin said Sunday he would introduce a resolution to censure Bush for authorizing domestic eavesdropping, saying the White House misled Americans about its legality.

Bush has acknowledged ordering the surveillance practice after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Kerry, the ranking member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, made his first trip to the state since the presidential election to meet with Mayor Mark Mallory and attend a roundtable meeting of groups representing small businesses.

Feingold announced his intention to censure Bush during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

“The president has broken the law and, in some way, he must be held accountable,” he later told The Associated Press.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., called Feingold’s proposal “a crazy political move.” Sen. John Warner, R-Va., said on CNN’s “Late Edition” the announcement was “political grandstanding. And it tends to weaken our president.”

A censure resolution, which simply would scold the president, has been used just once in U.S. history – against Andrew Jackson in 1834.